US 20050185801 A1
A system and method for mounting modular audio-visual components on a surface such as a wall. In particular, a modular mounting bar may comprise at least one audio-visual module which may be affixed to a rail configured to be attached to a wall at a plurality of locations along the rail and configured to receive a module at a plurality of locations along the rail. A cover or grille may be configured to be attached in front of the modules.
1. A modular mounting bar for securing components to a surface, comprising:
a plurality of audio-visual modules;
a rail configured to be attached to the surface at one of a plurality of locations along the rail and configured to receive a module at one of a plurality of locations along the rail; and
a cover configured to be secured in front of at least a portion of one of the modules.
2. A modular mounting system for audio-visual components, comprising:
at least one audio-visual module; and
a rail wherein the rail is configured to be attached to a surface, and wherein the rail is configured to receive the module.
3. The modular mounting system of
a cover that is configured to be securely positioned in front of the module.
4. The modular mounting system of
5. The modular mounting system of
6. The modular mounting system of
7. The modular mounting system of
a base configured to define a mating relationship with the at least one module;
a pair of flanges that defines a groove running along the lengthwise edge of the base.
8. The modular mounting system of
9. The modular mounting system of
10. The modular mounting system of
11. The modular mounting system of
12. The modular mounting system of
13. The modular mounting system of
14. The modular mounting system of
15. The modular mounting system of
16. The modular mounting system of
17. The modular mounting system of
18. The modular mounting system of
19. The modular mounting system of
20. The modular mounting system of
21. The modular mounting system of
22. A method of mounting audio-visual components to a surface, comprising:
securing a rail having portions thereof that define a channel to the surface; and
securing at least one audio-visual component having attachment surfaces that matingly connect with the channel to the rail, so as to fix the component in a desired location on the rail.
23. The method of
securing a cover to the component so as to secure the cover in a desired location on the component.
24. A method of mounting audio-visual components to a surface, comprising:
securing a rail to the surface; and
connecting an audio-visual component to the rail.
25. The method of
26. An assembly for mounting audio-visual components for use with a wall-mounted display, the assembly comprising:
at least two audio-visual modules comprising loudspeakers;
a rail wherein the rail is configured to be attached to a surface, and wherein the rail is configured to receive the module; and
a cover having a dimension approximately equal to a length of the display and defining a mating relationship with the at least two modules;
27. The assembly of
28. The assembly of
29. The assembly of
30. The assembly of
31. The assembly of
32. The assembly of
33. A modular mounting bar for securing components in proximity to a display having a width, comprising:
a rail having mounting locations for audio-visual components; and
means for connecting an audio-visual component to multiple locations on the rail so that component locations match the width of the display.
34. The module mounting bar of
35. A modular mounting bar for securing components in proximity to a display having a width, comprising:
at least one module audio-visual-module;
a railing having a length no greater than the display width and having several mounting holes at each of a plurality of module mounting locations to match module mounting to display width; and
a cover having a length substantially the same as the display width.
36. The modular mounting bar of
37. The modular mounting bar of
38. The modular mounting bar of
39. The modular mounting bar of
40. The modular mounting bar of
41. The modular mounting bar of
42. The modular mounting bar of
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1. Field of the Invention
This invention generally relates to systems and apparatus for mounting audio-visual components on a wall. In particular, the invention relates to a system and apparatus for mounting a set of audio loudspeakers in proximity to a flat panel video display.
2. Description of the Related Art
An entertainment system typically includes a video display. Recently, large, flat panel, video displays have become increasingly popular due to falling prices of these devices. Much of the popularity of flat panel displays is due to the relatively thin form factor that these displays have when compared to traditional cathode ray tube (CRT) and rear projection video displays. One particular advantage of these displays is that, due to their relative thinness, these devices are easily mounted on a wall. This also has the advantage of dispensing with the need for the bulky storage cabinet that is often employed to hold a traditional video display device.
However, as a corollary to the use of flat panel screen technology, such as a plasma or liquid-crystal display (LCD) screen, to reduce the size of a display, the housing of the display may no longer have room for loudspeakers to reproduce the audio component of audio-video signal. Thus many flat panel displays do not include loudspeakers. Other displays include only small, usually lower quality, loudspeakers that are not adequate to accurately reproduce the sound that is typically provided. Further, even when adequate left and right channel loudspeakers are provided by a display, a third center channel speaker is often not included. A center channel is required to fully take advantage of the 6 or more channels provided by audio systems such as Dolby Digital or DTS. However, center channel speakers are typically placed on top of the display, which is not always possible or desirable with a relatively thin, wall-mounted display.
Placement of a set of speakers on one or more stands on the floor near the display is one solution to the problem of providing a set of speakers for a flat panel display. However, this clutters the area around the display and tends to frustrate the purpose for wall-mounting the display.
Another solution is to mount speakers into the wall, either using special purpose speakers, or in niches in the wall. However, this is not always feasible due to constraints in the construction of the wall. In-wall mounting also may not be cost effective except in new construction. Further, a landlord may not allow a tenant to make the necessary wall openings.
Wall mounted speakers are another solution. However, existing speaker mounts are typically nothing more than wall mounted shelves or brackets, one for each speaker, which are not typically configured specifically for a wall-mounted display. Thus, a need exists for more convenient mounting systems for audio-visual components such as loudspeakers.
The term “audio-visual component” generally refers to any electronic device capable of receiving, producing, or processing an audio signal, a video signal, or a signal comprising both audio and video signals. The term “audio-visual signal” generally refers to analog or digital signals which represent audio data, video data, or both.
As noted above, the use of a set of individual wall-mounted speakers tends to result in more clutter of the sort that flat panel displays are intended to relieve. Moreover, when attempting to install three or more individually mounted speakers on the wall holding the flat panel display, the installer may have difficulty placing three separate speaker mounts on the wall in a desirable configuration due to the need to install each speaker mount into a stud in the wall. Finally, consumers must purchase, not only the display, but also a set of speakers, and compatible wall mounts, frequently from separate vendors, which may discourage many consumers from making any purchase at all.
Furthermore, as also noted above, wall mounting of the display removes the need for a cabinet to hold the display. However, display cabinets are typically used for more than holding the display. In particular, display cabinets may comprise additional shelves to hold additional audio-video equipment such as VCRs, DVD players, or loudspeakers. Thus, the need for a convenient place to store related audio-visual components grows.
The system, method, and devices of the invention each have several aspects, no single one of which is solely responsible for its desirable attributes. Without limiting the scope of this invention as expressed by the claims, which follow, its more prominent features will now be discussed briefly. After considering this discussion, and particularly after reading the section entitled “Detailed Description of the Embodiments of the Invention” one will understand how the features of this invention provide advantages that include increased ease of wall mounting the components of an audio-visual system.
One embodiment is a modular mounting bar for securing components to a surface. The system comprises a plurality of audio-visual modules. A rail is configured to be attached to the surface at one of a plurality of locations along the rail. The rail is also configured to receive a module at one of a plurality of locations along the rail. A cover may be configured to be secured in front of at least a portion of one of the modules.
Another embodiment is a modular mounting system for audio-visual components. The system comprises at least one audio-visual module. A rail may be configured to be attached to a surface, and may be configured to receive the module.
Another embodiment is a method of mounting audio-visual components to a surface. A rail is provided which has portions thereof that define a channel. The rail is secured to the surface. At least one audio-visual component is provided which has attachment surfaces that matingly connect with the channel. The component is secured to the rail, so as to fix the component in a desired location on the rail.
Yet another embodiment is a method of mounting audio-visual components to a surface. A first rail is provided. The first rail is secured to the surface. An audio-visual component is connected to the first rail. In one embodiment, a second rail may be provided. The second rail is secured to the first rail to define an extended rail. At least one audio-visual component is connected to the second rail.
One embodiment is an assembly for mounting audio-visual components for use with a wall-mounted display. The assembly may comprise at least two audio-visual modules comprising loudspeakers. A rail is configured to be attached to a surface and is configured to receive the module. A cover may have a dimension approximately equal to a length of the display and define a mating relationship with the at least two modules.
Another embodiment is a modular mounting bar for securing components to a surface. The bar comprises a means for providing a first rail, a means for securing the first rail to the surface, and a means for connecting an audio-visual component to the first rail.
The following detailed description is directed to certain specific embodiments of the invention. However, the invention can be embodied in a multitude of different ways as defined and covered by the claims. In this description, reference is made to the drawings wherein like parts are designated with like numerals throughout.
As depicted in
Preferably, the modules 110 are configured to be used with a wall-mounted display 112. More preferably, as shown, the modules 110 are mounted in proximity to the wall-mounted display 112. Alternatively, the mounting bar 101 may be attached to the legs of a stand or pedestal. Moreover, in other embodiments, the modular mounting bar 101 may also be placed on a pedestal. In another embodiment, the mounting bar 101 may form a pedestal on which a non-wall-mounted display 112 sits. By mounting modules 110 in proximity to the display 112 the length of wiring required between the modules 110 and the display 112 may be advantageously minimized.
As shown from the rear in
In another embodiment, hangers, such as are known in the art for hanging pictures or other objects on a wall, are first affixed to the wall using an appropriate fastener. A rail 114 may then be bolted, or otherwise coupled to one or more hangers.
In one embodiment, the rail 114 comprises a substantially planer base 124, which is perforated at selected locations to define fastener openings 122. A pair of flanges 126 extend approximately perpendicularly from each end of the base 124 along opposing longitudinal edges of the base 124. The end of each flange 126 comprises an inwardly directed lip 128. Each flange 126 and lip 128, in combination with the base defines a groove running along the longitudinal edge of the base 124.
When the rail 114 is mounted on a wall, a gap may be formed between the wall and the base 124. In one embodiment, this gap may be configured to allow wires to be routed between modules 110, or to the display 112.
One or more audio-visual modules 110 may be affixed to the rail 114. Preferably, the modules comprise at least two loudspeakers. More preferably, the modules 110 comprise at least three loudspeakers to provide left, center and right channel speakers.
A module 110 may be coupled to the rail 114 by extending a fastener such as a bolt from the module 110 through an opening 122 where the bolt is secured by attachment of a nut thereto. Alternatively, a module 110 may be coupled to the rail 114 by a screw inserted through the rear of the rail 114 into the module 110. In another embodiment, clips may be provided with a channel adapted to fit around the lip 128 of flange 126 so that the clips when coupled to a module 110 are slidable to a selected position along the rail 114 where the clip is fastened to the rail 114 by, for example, a screw. Other embodiments may use fasteners such as, for example, hook and loop patches, or other appropriate fasteners as would be apparent to one of skill in the art. Thus, modules 110 may be easily removed, added, or relocated along the rail 114 as new modules 110 are added. Modules 110 having obsolete or malfunctioning audio-visual components may be removed or replaced. The set of modules 110 may also be repositioned along rail 114 when changes in the set of modules makes rearrangement of the modules 110 advantageous.
Modules 110 may be mounted along the rail 114 at any desired location corresponding to available coupling points. In particular, modules 110 may be mounted at a distance selected to match the size of the display 112. For example, in the embodiment depicted in
In another embodiment, depicted in
In some embodiments, as depicted in
In the embodiment depicted in
Each module 110 of the mounting bar 101 may have a standardized height and depth that is sufficient for the module 110 to comprise a wide range of audio-visual components. Preferably, the module depth is selected so that the outer surface of the module is flush with the display surface.
In other embodiments, the modules 110 may comprise a set of components, such as, for example, television tuners, cable “set-top” boxes, infra-red (IR) receivers for the display 112, IR relay devices for relaying IR control signals to a remote device, compact disc (CD) players, digital video recorders, video game machines, video cassette recorders, MP3 audio players, amplifiers, or any other audio-visual component. Further, while in certain depicted embodiments the modules 110 comprise loudspeakers, it is to be appreciated that an embodiment may not include any loudspeaker modules 110.
As noted above, the modular audio-visual mounting bar 101 may include a cover 116 which is secured in front of each of the modules 110. The cover 116 may be affixed to at least one of the modules 110 or to the rail 114.
In one embodiment, the cover 116 may be attached to at least one module 110. In some embodiments, the cover 116 may comprise a rim extending around the top and bottom of the cover to allow the cover 116 to be press fit around the top and bottom of the modules 110.
As depicted in
In one embodiment, solid doors 150 may be placed at each opening 148 to cover each module 110 that is located within. Preferably, the doors 150 may be swung open to expose controls of the module 110.
Openings 148 may also be covered by a grille or screen 152. Preferably, the loudspeaker module 110 is covered by the screen or grille 152. As depicted in
In some embodiments, electronic components may be combined within a single housing. For example, in the embodiment of
As illustrated in
In another embodiment of the modular mounting bar 101, the center channel speaker module 110 may be integrated with electronics components such as those in the electronics housing 160.
In another embodiment, illustrated by
In other embodiments, the cover 116 may be attached to one or more spacers 162 by screws, or by press fitting as described above with respect to attachment of the cover 116 to the module 110.
As illustrated in
One embodiment of a mounting bar system 101 also provides an additional option for mounting a video display 112. A center channel loudspeaker module 110 may provide a mounting base or pedestal for the flat panel TV, allowing the consumer to easily achieve optimal placement of center channel directly under display 112 even in locations where the studs or other secure wall supports are not available in the location where the consumer desires to mount the display 112.
The modular nature of the above described system also provides several advantages in product distribution. A significant issue for retailers is limiting the number of different high cost items that are stocked. Each item stocked by a retailer is typically identified as a stock keeping unit (SKU). For example, a non-modular system might be utilized that includes a housing, speakers, mounts, a cover, and/or other items in a pre-assembled configuration that is fixed as a single non-modifiable unit to a wall. To make different enclosure widths and cover options available to consumers at a retail location, a retailer would be required to stock a large number of different and expensive non-modular speaker enclosures of varying widths and with different covers. It is very expensive for the retailer to stock a large number of high cost speaker SKUs to allow consumers a choice of different loudspeaker systems. However, by offering a modular system 101, the retailer may advantageously offer multiple grille and mounting bar SKUs to support a myriad of flat panel dimensions and consumer style tastes. Thus a retailer may, for example, stock one SKU that contains a three speaker package that is designed to be advantageously matched with LCD video displays when mounted to the above described rail apparatus. At the same time, the retailer can offer separate grille and rail kits to support a variety of display 112 dimensions. These kits are inexpensive because they do not include speakers or other electronics, and thus, stocking a large number of rail and grille SKUs is not cost prohibitive for the retailer. A retailer may thus offer a product that is customized for each customers needs, while controlling inventory costs by minimizing the number of high cost SKUs.
In view of the above, it will be appreciated that embodiments of the invention overcome many of the longstanding problems in the art by providing a rail which allows a variety of audio-visual components to be conveniently mounted and repositioned at a variety of positions on a wall or surface in proximity to a wall mounted display without consuming any floor space. In addition, the mounting bar provides a rail which allows audio-visual components and the wall mounted display to be mounted in close proximity to each other to reduce inter-component cable runs.
While the above detailed description has shown, described, and pointed out novel features of the invention as applied to various embodiments, it will be understood that various omissions, substitutions, and changes in the form and details of the device or process illustrated may be made by those skilled in the art without departing from the spirit of the invention. As will be recognized, the present invention may be embodied within a form that does not provide all of the features and benefits set forth herein, as some features may be used or practiced separately from others. The scope of the invention is indicated by the appended claims rather than by the foregoing description. All changes which come within the meaning and range of equivalency of the claims are to be embraced within their scope.